So you’re well into your latest book and you have the coolest protagonist ever, an FBI agent who rides into town on a white horse to save the day by solving the latest murder. His first order of business … to take charge of, well, everything. First, he gives the local homicide detectives the boot. Next he tells the chief to stay out of his way because this is a job for the feds. Then he scouts the area for just the right person to fall in love with him before the case is solved. Now, it’s time to get down to business.

Of course, you’ve gone to great pains to get your details right by watching Matlock and Andy Griffith. You’ve tossed in a great crime scene, some fingerprinting, DNA evidence, bloodstain patterns, a car chase followed by a huge explosion, the agent saves the girl, he defies orders from his boss to wait for backup … and, here it comes, the big payoff … he shoots the gun out of one thug’s hand and karate-chops another on the back of the neck to render him unconscious, AND THEN the agent catches the best and baddest villain ever concocted by a writer.

Sound familiar?

Okay, this is the point where you should click on the video below. It is the soundtrack for the following text. So hit the play button and hang on!
 


 
Well, those super cool FBI details are all fine and Jim Dandy, with the exception of one minor detail … as a rule, FBI AGENTS DON’T WORK MURDER CASES!! And, they don’t come into town and take over any local cases. And they don’t have to be called in on kidnapping cases. The fact that they can work a case involving children doesn’t mean they work ALL of them. Each state has its own kidnapping/abduction laws. Local detectives work kidnapping cases all the time.

Besides, someone would have to call the FBI before they’d even have a clue that a child has been abducted. Every single town in the good old USA doesn’t have an FBI field office situated next to the corner Piggly Wiggly. Sometimes agents are hours away from a town. In fact, they’ve probably never set foot in many of your towns. Nope, they probably don’t know that Dinglebopadoodle, Rhode Island even exists.

FBI Agents Don’t Ride White Horses

Okay, I know this one will be difficult to grasp, but here goes … FBI agents do not have a crystal ball that sounds off every time a child is abducted or a murder is committed. I know, what a shock. So take a moment to settle down and catch your breath before reading more of this crazy new information.

What? You want to know what cases the FBI does work?

Hmm … I’m not sure if you’ll be able to handle the truth. After all, you see all of the above in so many books.

I know, it’s hard to take in all at once.

Yes, I’m sure you’re frightened, but you’ll be fine.

What’s that you say? Your literary agent said that IS what FBI agents do.

Wait a minute. Let me fini—

Wait—

Please don’t cry.

I know she told you about the white horse—

Yes, and the explosio—

Ah, so that’s where you guys are getting the cordite information ….

Well, I’m sure your literary agent and/or editor has a long history in law enforcement (big eye roll here).

Anyway, see for yourself. These are the cases the FBI works. No, I didn’t make this up. It’s straight from their website. For more details about the overall crimes be sure to click the titles of each section below.
 

Cases Worked By The FBI

 

Terrorism

Protecting the United States from terrorist attacks is the FBI’s number one priority. The Bureau employs a variety of…

Public Corruption

Public corruption, the FBI’s top criminal investigative priority, poses a fundamental threat to our national security and…

Civil Rights

Since its earliest days, the FBI has helped protect the civil rights of the American people. A dozen…

Organized Crime

The FBI is dedicated to eliminating transnational organized crime groups that pose the greatest threat to the national…

White-Collar Crime

The FBI’s white-collar crime work integrates the analysis of intelligence with its investigations of criminal activities such…

Violent Crime

Even with its post-9/11 national security responsibilities, the FBI continues to play a key role in combating…

WMD

The FBI created the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Directorate in 2006 to support a cohesive and coordinated approach to…

 

4 replies
  1. Cathy Akers-Jordan
    Cathy Akers-Jordan says:

    OMG, there’s an FBI Citizens Academy?! How cool! Not as cool as WPA, of course, but I didn’t realize they had such a thing. Thanks, Patricia.

    Lee, thank you for always providing us with accurate info, even if it means no white horses. 🙂

  2. Lyn
    Lyn says:

    Whaaat? No white horse? Lee, I’m sobbing into my yogurt with sliced fruit here. Well…what about a white hat? Surely they wear a white hat. But what about the information I’ve gleaned from watching all those I Spy episodes. You mean it’s not legit? 😮 Oh wait…you said FBI agents. What about CIA agents? Especially ones in a friendly foreign country.

  3. Patricia Smith Wood
    Patricia Smith Wood says:

    Thank you SO MUCH, Lee for explaining this with great humor and knowledge. My father retired from the FBI as Deputy Assistant Director of Domestic Intelligence, and I, myself, worked for the FBI in the dark ages (1959-1960) under J. Edgar Hoover. But my father’s FBI is not quite the same as today’s Bureau. If a writer REALLY wants to know what’s true and authentic, I suggest they investigate attending an FBI Citizens Academy class in one of the Bureau’s 56 Field Offices. It’s an amazing course, and free to the lucky group selected each year to attend. You even get to go to the range and shoot some of their weapons! My favorite was the MP5 with silencer!!

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